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RFID systems

What is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification RFID is an Auto Identification Technology which uses radio frequency waves to identify and track people or objects. RFID Tags will be attached to the objects which are to be identified or tracked. When these tags come under RFID Readers read range, RF signal will be sent to the tag. The tag will respond to the signal accordingly by sending back the desired information about the object. Readers collect information from the tag through antenna and convert in to digital form and send it to the database to make the information useful.

Types of RFID system:

Low-frequency RFID systems (which operate at about 125KHz) have a relatively short communication range (from a couple of inches to about 1.5 feet), require little power, and work well on non-metal items, particularly items with high water content. Some low-frequency RFID applications include vehicle immobilization, product authentication from manufacturer to retailer, access control and animal tracking.

High frequency RFID systems (13.56MHz) have a better read range (up to 3 feet) and can work well with metal items. Some high-frequency RFID applications include library book tracking, airline baggage tracking, healthcare patient tracking, and maintenance data logging for sensitive equipment that requires regular status checks.

Ultra-high-frequency RFID systems (860–960MHz) have a significantly longer read rate (up to 50 feet under some conditions) and faster data transfer speed, but require more power. Often used in distribution and logistics applications, UHF RFID is also used in electronic highway toll collection systems, manufacturing work-in-process and more.

Different types of RFID Tags

Active RFID uses Active (Transponders) Tags which are battery powered and generate their own signals in response to reader. Active RFID Tags consists of consist of a small microchip that contains a unique ID encoded within it. The rest of the tag consists of a mechanism to transmit this unique ID to an "Interrogator" or a reader that can identify this tag. In the case of an Active tag, an internal power source (battery) is used to power the transmission - which broadcasts the tag's unique ID to all sensors/receivers that are listening on the specified frequency. They can transmit stronger signals over long distances and can operate in rugged environment for many years. Active RFID tags can be re-written by RF Interrogators. Active tags have high storage capacities. Active RFID tags are commonly used for tracking high value assets over a large area. They might be used for tracking vehicles in a lot, or for tracking valuable items or essential equipment within a building. Shipboard containers are a good example of an active RFID tag application.

Passive RFID Tags do not contain a battery. Instead, they draw their power from the radio wave transmitted by the reader. The reader transmits a low power radio signal through its antenna to the tag, which in turn receives it through its own antenna to power the integrated circuit (chip). The tag will briefly converse with the reader for verification and the exchange of data. As a result, passive tags can transmit information over shorter distances (typically 3 meters or less) than active tags. Passive RFID tags are usually Write-Once-Read-Many or Read-Only tags. They have a smaller memory capacity and are considerably lower in cost making them ideal for tracking lower cost items.

Semi Passive RFID are similar to active tags but the battery is used to run the microchip's circuitry but not to broadcast a signal to the reader. Some semi-passive tags sleep until they are woken up by a signal from the reader, which conserves battery life. Semi-passive tags can cost a dollar or more. These tags are sometimes called battery-assisted tags.

Why RFID ?

Many companies around the world use RFID to improve their internal efficiencies. It has many advantages over other Auto Identification Technologies. Some of the advantages are

RFID is used in many areas.

There are two basic types of chips available on RFID tags, Read-Only and Read-Write .

Read only chips are programmed with unique information stored on them during the manufacturing process – often referred to as a 'number plate' application. The information on read-only chips can not be changed.

With Read-Write chips , the user can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of the reader. Read-Write chips are more expensive that Read Only chips. Applications for these may include field service maintenance or 'item attendant data' – where a maintenance record associated with a mechanical component is stored and updated on a tag attached to the component. Another method used is something called a "WORM" chip (Write Once Read Many). It can be written once and then becomes "Read Only" afterwards.

Growth potential, market share of RFID etc. in India as well international market.

The analysts forecast the Global RFID market to grow at a compound annualized growth rate of 22.4% over the period 2013-2018. Sixty percent of the accumulated revenue over the next five years will be generated from government, retail, transportation and logistics. The Global RFID market has also been witnessing the increased R&D spending by major vendors. Leading vendors such as Alien Technology, Honeywell, Impinj and NXP Semiconductors have all increased their investment in the R&D of RFID devices. Moreover, many vendors are partnering with software and hardware suppliers to develop technologically advanced products. This focus on R&D has helped vendors introduce RFIDs that are increasingly cost-effective.

IDTechEx finds that the RFID market - including tags, readers, software and services, for passive and active RFID - will grow from $7.88 billion in 2013 to $9.2 billion in 2014 in terms of total money spent. IDTechEx forecast that to rise to $30.24 billion in 2024. In retail, RFID is seeing rapid growth for apparel tagging - that application alone demands 2.25 billion RFID labels in 2013. RFID in the form of tickets used for transit will demand 600 million tags in 2013. The tagging of animals (such as pigs, sheep and pets) is now substantial as it becomes a legal requirement in many more territories, with 375 million tags being used for this sector in 2013. This is happening in regions such as China and Australasia. In total, 5.9 billion tags will be sold in 2013 versus 4.8 billion in 2012. Most of that growth is from passive UHF RFID labels.


Strong and upwards demand for supply chain management, developing organized retail market and increasing government projects are building the growth of RFID market in India. The rapidly increasing industrialization and commercialization is invigorating the companies to invest in RFID to enhance their supply chain processes as it enables scanning of multiple items at once and line of sight advantages. The major factors driving the market for RFID include increased usage in the large scale government projects such as "Aadhaar" – unique identification program, metro rail and retail industry in India. According to a recently published report by TechSci Research 'India RFID Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018′, the RFID market in India is expected to grow at the CAGR of around 25% during 2013-2018. The main companies operating in the Indian RFID market include InfoTech Software and Systems, Gyaan Tech, Motorola Solutions and NEC Corporation. The growth of organized retail, automotive, health care and public transit is expected to contribute significantly to the demand for RFID in India. In addition, the RFID technology is also expected to be deployed in new emerging applications such as animal tracking, libraries, and precious ornaments etc.

Application and its customers

Compiled by: Mr. Rajesh Shet. Mail:

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Our aim is to provide information to the knowledge seekers. 

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